Ancient Monuments

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Earlshall, enclosures and settlements NNW of

A Scheduled Monument in Tay Bridgehead, Fife

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Latitude: 56.382 / 56°22'55"N

Longitude: -2.8707 / 2°52'14"W

OS Eastings: 346329

OS Northings: 721418

OS Grid: NO463214

Mapcode National: GBR 2N.1WJ1

Mapcode Global: WH7RR.WV5C

Entry Name: Earlshall, enclosures and settlements NNW of

Scheduled Date: 9 January 1998

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6803

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: enclosure (domestic or defensive)

Location: Leuchars

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Tay Bridgehead

Traditional County: Fife


The monument comprises a series of rectilinear enclosures, probably of both prehistoric and medieval date, visible as cropmarks on oblique aerial photographs.

The monument lies in arable farmland at around 10m OD and comprises a variety of features, the most significant of which are several rectilinear enclosures of varying size, mostly aligned NE to SW. The largest is about 115m by 58m, and has further linear features projecting to the W and N of it. Smaller rectangular enclosures, measuring between approximately 20m and 40m NE-SW by about 10m to 20m, and a variety of other features, are contained within and to the NW of this large enclosure. Further rectangular enclosures, some with opposing entrances, are located to the S.

The main enclosure is exceptionally large and irregular and its date and function is unknown. A late first millennium BC or early first millennium AD (Iron Age) date is often advanced for rectilinear enclosures, but it has also been suggested that the main elements of this complex may, alternatively, represent the remains of a medieval field and farm complex.

Linear features, smaller enclosures and incomplete enclosures in the immediate vicinity may be the remains of older prehistoric field systems. Amongst the other cropmarks is at least one annular ring-ditch about 10m in diameter, almost certainly a prehistoric settlement site. A number of pits, possible barrows (the remains of prehistoric burials) and miscellaneous features of probable prehistoric date also occur within the area proposed for scheduling. This indicates that the complex as a whole represents an assemblage of features formed by many centuries of prehistoric and medieval settlement and agricultural activities.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found. It is irregular in shape with maximum dimensions of 290m NE-SW by 610m NNW-SSE, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract. To the S its boundary is partly defined by Earlshall Road; to the E partly by the track to Pitlethie; and to the W by the edge of a modern housing estate.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to contribute to our understanding of prehistoric settlement and economy. It may be expected to contain material relating to the economy and environment of the site. It is of particular interest because of the strong possibility that it contains elements of very different dates, affording the opportunity to examine human use of this area over an extended period.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NO 42 SE 28.

Aerial Photographs used:

RCAHMS (1978) F/6298 NO42SE28.

RCAHMS (1978) F/6299 NO42SE28.


Macinnes, L. PhD thesis: 'Later prehistoric and Roman-British settlement north and south of the Forth ' a comparative survey' Vol. 2, 233, 420.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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